Best Performances in Superhero Movies
Anyone who has even a passing familiarity with films, over the past couple of decades knows that super heroes are big hits for the box office but not so much with accolades. This is a shame because some of the finest performances in recent years have come from the superhero genre, and just because the Golden Globes and Oscars won’t honor them, doesn’t mean we won’t so here they are in no particular order, the finest performances to come from superhero films.
Christopher Reeve (Superman, Superman II): Before the theaters were flooded every summer with countless men in tights, there was only one and to this day he stands above, the others, Christoher Reeve as Superman. This was the role Reeve was born to play from his chiseled physique to his piercing blue eyes to his uncanny ability to have the audience relate to him. Looking like a Curt Schwan drawing come to life he did the impossible and made audiences believe a man could fly. Reeve knew how to bring out this character in various interviews he said the key was knowing that the audience would find the hero and his values outdated but he still played it straight, because those were the values Supes honestly believed in.
Christian Bale (Batman Begins): After years of no success in finding the perfect Batman, in 2005 they struck gold. Christian Bale was everything that audiences wanted from the Dark Knight, having the physique and size (sorry Keaton) the intensity and brooding charisma (sorry Kilmer) and he took the role very seriously (sorry Clooney). Bale immersed himself in the role, to the point of having Bruce Wayne’s name replace his own on his trailer, where he poured through copies of Batman graphic novels where he drew inspiration. In Batman Begins, he added to the realism and convinced the audience that a rich billionaire fed up with the system could throw on a bat costume and fight crime.
Nicholas Cage & Chloe Moretz(Kick-Ass): Nic cage has a history of frustrating movie geeks for every brilliant performance in something like The Weatherman and Raising Arizona there is twenty movies along the lines of Ghost Rider or The Wicker Man. Rest assured this is one of his good performances. The role of Big Daddy is that of an ordinary guy who tries desperately to fulfill the role of a superhero, which is perfect for the guy who named his kid Kal-el and tried but failed to muster the intensity to play Ghost Rider, suffice to say he is an ordinary guy trying to be a super hero. His performance is perfectly complimented by Chloe Moretz as his daughter, Hit Girl. The two have an incredible chemistry together and you can’t help but feel the love the father and daughter have for each other.
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight): You were going to be surprised if this one was left off. It is standard practice for award shows and critics to ignore performances in superhero flicks but, Ledger’s transformation from the handsome and charming young actor into the sociopathic, murderous clown was complete and perfect there is no way they could have ignored it. Despite the untimely passing of the actor, audiences do not feel any strange feelings about wanting Batman to beat the Joker’s face in because there is no sign left of Ledger once he put on the make-up.
Hugh Jackman (X-Men, X2: X-Men United): When Singer did the impossible and brought the X-Men t the silver screen, one member stood out among the impressive ensemble cast, the then unknown to movie goers, Hugh Jackman. From his swagger to his tough guy demeanor, this Broadway star brought the fan favorite mutant to life. Jackman has taken complete ownership of this role and his currently prepping to play him in a fifth movie and the audience hopes he never tires of the role.
Brandon Lee (The Crow): After years of playing an action hero in second rate B-movies living under his father’s shadow, it was Lee’s final performance that made everyone stand up and take notice of him. Not only did he excel in the movies impressive action sequences, but he brought the lonely sadness of James O’Barr’s anti hero to the screen without being mopey. Sadly he passsed away before the film was completed giving audiences only a taste of what he was capable of as an actor.
Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Hellboy 2): When acclaimed filmmaker Guillmero del Toro wanted a veteran character actor as opposed to a debonair leading man to play the lead role in his films the studio scoffed. But when the movie hit the screens they scoffed no more because Ron Perlman WAS Hellboy. Acting through layers of prosthetics and make-up Perlman brought the everyman charm of the character to life.
Michael Fassebender (X-Men: First Class): When a young upcoming actor takes on a role originated by one of the greatest actors of all time, it could be an intimidating and daunting task, but when Fassebender took over the role of Magneto from Sir Ian McKellan he blew audiences away. Bringing the youthful energy to the role that the weathered and aged McKellan lacked he showed audiences the believable emotional journey that turned Eric Lehnsherr into the Master of Magnetism.